About Us

The Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and ultimately create a powerful public demand for a high quality education.

Enough teachers for Students!AQE’s platform for student success:

Quality Teaching for Every Student

We support efforts to strengthen and deepen teacher preparatory programs and ensure continued access to trainings and supports that help teachers perfect their craft.

Quality Early Childhood Education

The benefits of early childhood education include increased high school graduate rates, increased student achievement, increased college degree attainment and better employment outcomes, while also decreasing teen pregnancy and crime rates. We support the expansion of quality early childhood education programs for all students.


Community Schools

Community schools can provide a place where students, parents and neighbors can access basic healthcare, English as a second language programs, citizenship classes, tutoring, and community service opportunities. We support the creation of community schools that function as a hub in the community to keep students engaged in productive activities and help families access the resources they need.

Challenging and Engaging CurriculumEngaging and Interesting Curriculum

A high quality curriculum ensures that students stay engaged in school, graduate and are well prepared for college and careers. We believe that in order for all students to have the opportunity to succeed they need to have access to Advanced Placement courses, foreign languages, art, music, sports, career and technical education programs.

Parent & Family Engagement

We believe that education policy and decision-makers should respect parents and bring them to the table.  In partnership with the national coalition Communities for Excellent Public Schools, we have developed a proposal for parent, student, and community engagement to be involved in assessing a school’s needs and challenges as well as be involved in finding and implementing solutions.


Money matters; without adequate resources, schools cannot educate students. The availability of resources closely correlates with opportunities and outcomes. We believe school aid distribution should be based on student and school district need.

Stop School Suspensions

Solutions Not Suspensions

The overuse of suspensions to discipline students has negative impacts on student learning and increases dropout rates. As an alternative, restorative justice and positive behavioral systems address the root of students’ misbehavior and lead to better outcomes. We support the implementation of progressive codes of conduct that create a positive school climate.

Quality Curriculum

A high quality curriculum ensures that students stay engaged in school, graduate and are well prepared for college and careers. We believe that in order for all students to have the opportunity to succeed they need to have access to Advanced Placement courses, foreign languages, art, music, sports, career and technical education programs.

The Alliance for Quality Education needs your financial and physical support.  Please Donate.   (https://org.salsalabs.com/o/425/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=165)


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2016-17 New York State Enacted Budget Analysis

2016-17 New York State Enacted Budget Analysis

April 12, 2016 Legislative & Political Updates

2016-17 New York State Enacted Budget Analysis

ALBANY (April 11, 2016) — This budget fails to address fundamental educational inequality based on both race and income. The Foundation Aid increase simply does not come close to meeting the needs for the one out of two students living in poverty or to reversing the racial inequities that are entrenched in our educational system. Every year the state has another excuse for why it is not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to finance a ‘sound basic education’ for every child, and once again our children are the ones paying the price. The final product simply does not get the job done. The one important exception is the community schools program which will provide an innovative reform that will make a massive difference in the lives of students and families. We give Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Education Chair Cathy Nolan and the Assembly Majority credit for fighting the good fight. We also wish to recognize Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes for leading the way in demanding high quality community schools.

The total aid increase of $1.35 billion is $400 million less than the 2008 record increase of $1.7 billion. The struggle for educational equity is focused on ensuring that high needs schools get enough funding which means Foundation Aid. AQE called for $1.47 billion in Foundation Aid, the Board of Regents called for $1.3 billion and the Assembly’s budget proposal was for $1.1 billion. But the enacted budget included only $627 million in Foundation Aid. To the credit of the Assembly Majority, of the Foundation Aid delivered a higher proportion than usual to high need districts.

Unfortunately the enacted budget included no multi-year phase-in of the full $4.4 billion in Foundation Aid that is owed to schools. The Assembly budget proposed a four-year phase in of full foundation aid, but both the Senate the Governor rejected such a plan. Now we must demand that the remaining $3.9 billion is paid over the next three years.

The Gap Elimination Adjustment was fully restored, but this does very little for most high need districts.

Community schools are innovative schools that provide social, emotional and health supports as well as strong academics. The budget includes $175 million for community schools, this is a key victory for expanding opportunity in poor communities and communities of color. Community schools are schools that combine services for the students and their families and include substantial parent and community engagement.

Education School Aid Highlights:

  • $1.35 Billion Total School Aid Increase
  • $627 Million for Foundation Aid
  • $100 Million for Community Schools ($100 Million is part of Foundation Aid)
  • $434 Million for Gap Elimination Adjustment
  • $340 Million Expense Based Aids
  • $75 Million is in a separate funding stream to be administered by the Commissioner of Education
  • $22 Million for Pre-K for 3-year-olds (in districts that already serve 4- year-olds in half or full day) and $2 million for Pre-K Quality Initiatives
  • $18 Million for My Brother’s Keeper targeted to educational opportunities for boys and young men of color and $2 Million for a NYS Office of Parent & Family Engagement

To read a more detailed summary, click here.

To read a comparison of the budget proposals with the 2016-17 enacted budget, click here.

For the distribution of community school funding, click here.

PRESS RELEASE: Long Island Assemblymembers See Need for Pre-K

PRESS RELEASE: Long Island Assemblymembers See Need for Pre-K

March 4, 2016 Legislative & Political Updates

Blanca A Villanueva
Community Organizer
Alliance for Quality Education and Long Island Progressive Coalition
blanca@aqeny.org / 631-918-3112

LONG ISLAND (March 4, 2016) – The Alliance for Quality Education and Long Island Progressive Coalition were joined by Assemblymembers Phil Ramos and Kimberly Jean-Pierre in a day-long “Pre-K Tour” stopping at Brentwood, Central Islip, and Copiague pre-K sites. The tour is a continuing effort to raise awareness for the importance and need of more state-funded full-day pre-k on Long Island. Brentwood, Central Islip and Copiague are three of the many school districts that recognize the need of pre-k in their community but must face the obstacle of competitive grants each year in order to receive funding.

The benefits of investing in quality pre-K is exponential. Children do better in school, go to college and earn higher income.  When communities have more economic activity; there is less crime, more stable families, and successful schools. For every dollar invested in quality full day pre-K, taxpayers can see a return of $8. Without the investment in quality early learning programs students will already be behind their peers starting kindergarten.

While the importance of investing in a quality early learning programs is clear, there are still students without a full day pre-K seat. Outside of New York City in 2015-16, 89,587 four year olds have no full-day pre-K. In high need districts on Long Island, 74 percent of four-year olds do not have full-day pre-K. Long Island school districts have a need and want for UPK but each year they must compete against each other in competitive grants. There are currently six different pre-K programs with six different requirements. This year Governor Cuomo proposed $22 million for three year olds only. This would be the seventh program, which would exclude four-year-olds.

Read the Alliance for Quality Education’s latest report on pre-K on Long Island.

“It’s time we invest in all of our children,” said Assemblywomen Kimberly Jean-Pierre. “We want what’s best for our children, and giving them an early start will put them on the path to success. As a parent, I support making universal pre-K available in all communities across Long Island. Early education is a key component to the development and growth of our children.”

“The benefits of a quality pre-K education are clear,” said Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “But for the past two years, Long Island and other parts of the state have had to battle for pre-K funding. This has to stop. Pre-K is essential for our children’s future success. Therefore, pre-K must be funded fully in Long Island and throughout the state.”

“There is a need and a want for access to full day pre-K. It not only lessens the inequality gap but helps working parents who cannot afford childcare. As a full-time working mother to a two-year-old I want the best for my child and starting with a quality early learning program will set her up to succeed,” said Lisa Tyson Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “All children deserve access to full-day pre-K.”

“Pre-K education for our students is vital in helping poor and economically disadvantaged students narrow the academic achievement gap. Through pre-K our students are able to develop a solid foundation particularly in gaining skills in reading, writing, and understanding concepts in math which are the foundation for them to be successful as they move through the various grades,” said Dr. Levi McIntyre, Brentwood Superintendent of Schools. “Pre-K is also a benefit for our parents who can go to work with the peace of mind, knowing that their precious child is in a safe and secure environment while receiving instruction.”

“In a few short years these children will be adults, your neighbors. A small investment today will ensure an equal education for all children through Universal pre-K. It is imperative that our schools provide a solid foundation for our youngest learners to be shaped so they will become productive citizens in our society. Universal pre-K lays that solid foundation so our children will have every opportunity to thrive and proceed up the academic ladder towards success through their formative years and into adulthood,” said Dr. Craig Carr, Central Islip Superintendent of Schools.

Jeanette Altruda, Copiague School District Assistant Cuperintendent of Curriculum and Instructions
said, “The Copiague Public School District is very excited to offer a full-day UPK program to our community.  The opportunity for our youngest students to be engaged in a literacy rich, mathematics infused curriculum will go far in helping our students to reach their greatest potential.”
“The case for pre-K is clear and convincing: quality early education can actually change children’s life trajectory.  No wonder school officials are eager to add pre-K services and parents are calling to find a seat.  Now state officials must make good on their promise to make pre-K truly universal and step up with the funding to make it happen,” said Betty Holcomb, Policy Director at Center for Children’s Initiatives.  “The promise was to fund districts that come forward with a plan, but that promise has not be kept.  This year alone over 74 high need school districts applied for funding to expand pre-K for three and four year olds, but funding was only sufficient to support 34 of these districts.  Nearly 90,000 four year olds statewide still lack a seat.  It’s time for state officials to keep the promise.  Too many children are left behind.”

“Research has shown the benefits of pre-K programs in laying a foundation in the critical skills essential for later school success. Here at Shepard’s Gate, we’ve had the added advantage of growing from a half-day pre-K program to one that is full-day. This has opened up more learning opportunities for our students. Our teachers and staff encourage our children to be creative and learn by exploring the world around them. The expanded pre-K program is enriching each of our students and putting them on the road to educational success,” said Joseph R. Valentino of Shepherds Gate Academy in Brentwood.


PRESS STATEMENT: Focus Should be on Funding Viable Programs, Not on Parent’s Buying Rosetta Stone

PRESS STATEMENT: Focus Should be on Funding Viable Programs, Not on Parent’s Buying Rosetta Stone

December 22, 2015 Legislative & Political Updates

For Immediate Release:

Wendy Liberatore, Statewide Communications Coordinator, AQE
wendy@aqeny.org / (518) 432-5315 ext. 102; cell-(518) 491-0454

NEW YORK CITY (December 22, 2015) — The Alliance for Quality Education has released the following statement in response to New York City Chancellor Carmen Farina’s comment to a mother last night. The parent aired her concerns about her child’s school foreign language program being cut.

“Chancellor Carmen Farina’s statement that parents should buy expensive Rosetta Stone programs for their children whose schools are cutting foreign language programs was an unfortunate remark,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director with the Alliance for Quality Education. “More than 50 percent of New York City students are living below the poverty line. We cannot expect parents to choose between enrichment activities for their kids and basic necessities like food and shelter. Our New York City schools are owed $2 billion in CFE funding. It has been the failure and inaction of the Governor and New York State legislature to meet its constitutional obligation to our children and has forced schools to cut valuable programs. We must advocate in Albany together to bring much needed resources and enrichments to our schools.”

The DNAInfo article on the Chancellor’s meeting with parents can be read here.

PRESS RELEASE: Free Conference Focuses on Reducing Absenteeism

PRESS RELEASE: Free Conference Focuses on Reducing Absenteeism

October 1, 2015 Legislative & Political Updates

For Immediate Release:

Brian Trzeciak, Lead Organizer
Citizen Action of New York
716.855.1522 x 5 or 646.584.9767

BUFFALO (September 30, 2015) — Buffalo parents, teachers, and community members will join Citizen Action, the Alliance for Quality Education, the Public Policy and Education Fund, and the Buffalo Public Schools to address the grassroots effort to keep children safe and in school at a free, day-long conference. Parents and community members committed to Buffalo’s children and the future of public education are invited to participate to solve Buffalo’s attendance challenges.

Building Future Leaders Conference, set from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at the West Hertel Academy at 489 Hertel Ave., will focus on evidence-based, proven-to-work strategies for reducing absenteeism including implementation of meaningful parent and family engagement, community schools, and restorative justice practices.

The conference will host two nationally known speakers. Hedy Chang, the Director of the National Organization, Attendance Works, will offer tools to help keep students in school. Jitu Brown, the National Director of the Journey for Justice Alliance who just participated in a 34-day hunger strike to save Walter H. Dyett High School in Chicago, will speak about the importance of family engagement.

There will also be workshops throughout the day on topics such as family engagement, overcoming attendance challenges, alternatives to suspension and restorative justice, community schools, special education and more.

Lunch and childcare will be provided. Registration is required at www.ppefny.org/leaders. More information is available by calling 855.1522, ext. 5.

PRESS RELEASE: Census Bureau Report misses Huge Inequity in NYS Schools

PRESS RELEASE: Census Bureau Report misses Huge Inequity in NYS Schools

July 30, 2015 Legislative & Political Updates

For Immediate Release:

Alicia Arrington, New York City Communication Organizer
Alliance for Quality Education
212-328-9268 or 757-814-9823
NEW YORK (July 30,2015) Today the U.S. Census Bureau issued a report that outlines the average per pupil spending in states around the country. While New York ranks as having the highest spending statewide, that does not mean that that is the case for all students in New York State.

“The Census Bureau report excludes one key factor: New York has among the greatest inequity in school funding in the U.S.,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director. “The fact that wealthy school districts spend over $30,000 per pupil pushes up the state average, but does nothing to help students in poor communities. With an average gap between rich and poor schools of $8733 per pupil—and a gap that is more than twice that large in many specific schools, New York has a lot of catching up to do. In 2006, a lawsuit won by parents that formed the Campaign for Fiscal Equity proved that these students in particular were being grossly underfunded by the State; something the state has yet to repair. The result is severe underfunding and program cuts in schools serving high numbers of Black, Latino and low-income students. To this day there is still over $5 billion owed to our students in order to provide them with the sound education they deserve.”

A copy of the report is available at this link:


AQE Commends NYC Renewal School Agenda

AQE Commends NYC Renewal School Agenda

June 26, 2015 Legislative & Political Updates

For Immediate Release:

Alicia Arrington, New York City Communication Organizer
Alliance for Quality Education
212-328-9268 or 757-814-9823

NEW YORK (June 25, 2015) – The Alliance for Quality Education extends our congratulations to the graduates of Boys and Girls High School. We commend Mayor deBlasio and Chancellor Farina for taking promising steps to improve Boys & Girls High School and other renewal schools. Sadly rather than recognizing these achievements, StudentsFirstNY, a hedge fund sponsored organization with an agenda of privatization and testing, is once again seeking to tear down progress in our public schools in order to promote their political agenda.

The solutions for struggling schools are clear and are supported by research. It requires increased investment, quality school leadership and experienced lead teachers, high quality curriculum, social, emotional, and health supports for students and family and community engagement. This is the Renewal School Agenda of Mayor deBlasio and Chancellor Farina. Instead of supporting the improvement of these schools and the success of students, StudentsFirstNY and their hedge fund investors continue to be obstructionist and are committed to opposing every positive research-based reform in our public schools.


PRESS STATEMENT: AQE Welcomes New Commissioner MaryEllen Elia

PRESS STATEMENT: AQE Welcomes New Commissioner MaryEllen Elia

May 26, 2015 Legislative & Political Updates


Contact: Wendy Liberatore, Statewide Communications Coordinator
518-432-5315, ext. 102 or 518-491-0454

ALBANY (May 26, 2015) –

Statement of Billy Easton, Executive Director

“The Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) would like to congratulate the newly appointed New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. One thing is clear, for any Commissioner to succeed in New York State they will need to listen to parents and treat them as partners in public education. No skill will be more important for Commissioner Elia than the ability to work with parents. Collaboration with parents is vital to improving struggling schools, promoting educational equity, addressing the over emphasis on high stakes testing, and increasing charter school accountability. She comes from a large and diverse school district that contains urban, suburban and rural schools we hope this experience will equip here to support the many and diverse needs of New York’s 2.7 million students. We look forward to working with Commissioner Elia and we welcome her back to New York State.”